DeLauro: Spend more money now to combat Ebola

U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro, who represents part of Shelton, is calling for a congressional subcommittee to hold a hearing on the budgets of two agencies on the frontline of the battle against Ebola.

DeLauro, the senior Democrat on the subcommittee, said funding has been reduced for the National Institutes for Health (NIH) and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in recent years.

“The NIH’s purchasing power has been cut by 10% over the last four years,” DeLauro claimed. “The CDC program that supports the lab doing the testing has been cut by 11% over the last four year. The Health and Human Services [Department] program that supports local preparedness has been cut by 44%.

‘We need to reverse this trend’

“As NIH Director Francis Collins has said, we would be much further along on an Ebola vaccine if it were not for these cuts,” according to DeLauro. “National preparedness efforts have been damaged as well. We need to reverse this trend.”

DeLauro, now in her 12th term and seeking re-election, said she has yet to receive a response to her call for the subcommittee to hold a hearing in light of the ongoing Ebola outbreak.

Student has Ebola-like symptoms

A graduate student at Yale was admitted to Yale-New Haven Hospital on late Wednesday, but a preliminary test has since come back negative for Ebola.

The student recently returned from conducting research on the Ebola outbreak in Liberia, one of the West African countries where the virus is centered.

DeLauro lives in, and represents, New Haven in Congress.

“My thoughts and prayers are with the individual and family impacted by this unconfirmed Ebola case ... I am encouraged by the cooperation among health, state and local officials; first and emergency responders; and Yale-New Haven Hospital staff,” she said.

Federal support ‘has dwindled’

As for funding, DeLauro said she has “fought” to provide more money for NIH and CDC.

“We are seeing now how crucial they are, as they are in the lead on responding to the Ebola crisis,” she said.

“Unfortunately, federal support for these programs has dwindled due to budget cuts over the last four years.”

DeLauro said “every precaution” must be taken “to protect our medical workers and stop this from spreading. Since the outbreak began I have been in constant communication with officials at the NIH and CDC.”